A small cake. (Irish, boinneog, Scotch, bannock.)
In regard to “hot cross buns” on Good Friday, it may be stated that
the Greeks offered to Apollo, Diana, Hecate, and the Moon, cakes with
“horns.” Such a cake was called a bous, and (it is said) never
grew mouldy. The “cross” symbolised the four quarters of the moon.
Good Friday comes this month: the old woman runs
With one a penny, two a penny `hot cross buns,'
Whose virtue is, if you believe what's said,
They'll not grow mouldy like the common bread.
Poor Robin: Almanack, 1733.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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